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The Wrong Kind of Russian Reset

Over the weekend the Washington Post reported this:

The Obama administration lashed out at Russia on Friday ahead of a visit to that nation next week, blaming Moscow for standing in the way of the United States’ attempt to build an international coalition for potential military intervention in Syria. …

Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said this week that personal relations between Obama and Putin are worse than any U.S. president with their Russian, or even Soviet, counterparts in history.

“There’s a deep degree of disrespect,” Kuchins said. “It’s very likely that we could see this relationship muddle along at this, very, very kind of unpleasant level for the next three years until we’re looking at a new administration in the United States.”

So just for the fun of it, let’s return to the early days of the Obama presidency, shall we? How about February 2009, when Vice President Biden told an international security conference that the White House was determined to “press the reset button” with Russia.

“The last few years have seen a dangerous drift in relations between Russia and members of our alliance,” Biden said in a speech that the White House advertised as a guide to the Obama administration’s foreign-policy goals. “The U.S. and Russia can disagree but still work together where its interests coincide.”

It sure sounded easy, didn’t it?

And let’s not forget when that same year Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greeted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva and presented him with a red button with the Russian word “peregruzka” printed on it and said, “I would like to present you with a little gift that represents what President Obama and Vice President Biden and I have been saying and that is: We want to reset our relationship, and so we will do it together.” (It was perhaps a foreshadowing of things to come that the incorrect Russian word was printed on the red button. The Russian word for reset is “perezagruzka,” not “peregruzka,” which means “overcharged.”)

So we’ve gone from a reset to endless diplomatic conflicts, increased tensions, deep disrespect, and the worst relations between a leader of the United States and Russia or the Soviet Union in history. Just like Mr. Obama promised things would be like during his enlightened rule.


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